At only age 17, Grace Gaustad is an upcoming singer and songwriter known for her cover of Hozier’s “Take Me To Church.” She is also multi-instrumental, playing both piano and guitar on many of her songs on her debut EP. Gaustad has a known social media presence with over 500,000 followers on Instagram and having already performed at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, Gaustad is well on her way to becoming big thing in music. ECHO had the chance to chat with Gaustad at her show at The Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles, CA.
How are you doing today?
You released your album Human earlier this year, talk about the creative process behind that album.
The concept of Human was to get a group of songs together that went through the eight emotions that I feel we go through everyday, in small doses and in life in general. It was a concept album, some people put things together and I was trying to create something more as a whole rather than focusing on one individual thing. The creative process, every time I’m writing, any song, I’m thinking about how they’ll go with my other ones. In the set I just did there are two songs, one’s called “Louder,” which is on my EP and one’s called “Elephant In The Room,” which is not released yet, but they go together, so I make sure my music is cohesive and I’m sending the same messages every time. My creative process is a little weird, it’s organized chaos. That’s exactly what it is.
You started gaining a following from all your covers?
I did a cover of “Take Me To Church” by Hozier and it went viral in Brazil, Argentina, South America, so I would say half of my followers came from that cover. We posted it and we had no expectations from it, I was incredibly sick the day that we shot the video and I was thinking how it was going to be terrible, but I think the passion and anger and rage that people were relating to.
How do you make sure you make all your covers are 100% you?
I don’t do a ton anymore, but one of the biggest things for me is that I will never cover a song that I don’t love, or song from an artist that I don’t really enjoy listening to or respect. The biggest thing for me is whatever I’m covering to make it authentic, I want to make it a connection to the artist and to the song.
Why did you decide to title your album “Human?”
Because of the eight emotions I decided to name it after that track. It was the one that stood out the most and at the end of the day, we’re human beings, we break, we fall apart, there’s all these different things. We think that we’re invincible but we’re not and that’s the reality of it. The song walks you through that, it walks you through that mindset of you can not be destroyed and then there’s songs like “Smokeclouds” and “Louder” where you see the vulnerability shine through, so I wanted to give it a ray of different songs and concepts.
Do you have a favorite song off the album?
My baby off the album is “Human.” I say that because I wrote it when I was 15 and most people don’t know that. All the other songs were written within the last year-I was 17. “Human” was sort of the one song. We had seven songs and we were looking at it, thinking about it and were like ‘wow, this is the one that kind of ties everything together. Yet you wrote it so long ago.’ So I think for me it’s “Human” just because it was like my little baby that I’ve been holding on to for two years.
When did you start getting into music?
Straight out of the womb. No really. My Mom brought me home from the hospital and after three days of being home – she was just humming some notes and I was mimicking her. It started very young. The second I could talk, I was singing. It was like all at the same time. I started piano at five or six and the rest is history. I started writing then too. Everything just came together. I kept working at it and I still do.
Are your parents musical?
My Mom is musical. My Dad… he likes to sing. My Mom’s incredibly talented. She plays piano far better than I can and she’s also a great songwriter. We don’t have the same style, but she does write and she is very good.
Who are some of your dream collaborations?
I would love to work with Lady Gaga because she has been – If she did not exist I would not being doing music. She has been my idol for a very long time; so she has got to be number one. I work with her vocal coach, Don Lawrence and I’ve worked with him since I was 13 and he speaks the world of her. From his mouth – she’s one of the hardest working people he has ever met.I think Rihanna would be incredibly cool to work with. There’s no one who really embodies the word ‘badass’ more than her I don’t think. She’s got great music, she’s got great style and just fantastic energy. I would love to see that energy come to life on a song. Probably those two.
Is there a lesson that you have learned in this decade that has stuck with you?
I think the biggest takeaway that I’ve had just growing up is that you can’t change who somebody is. I’m not even so sure that you can change yourself to a certain degree. I think that we are who we are. We are born this way just like Gaga says. I think that being your true, authentic self is one of the keys to happiness that most people don’t realize. I think for a long time that I tried to fit in with the wrong group of people and the wrong friends and all these different things. When in reality, I’m totally nerdy totally weird and that’s just who I am and I’m never going to change. I think just accepting that has been my biggest takeaway of the last 10 years; even though I’m so young- I was seven 10 years ago. I’m sure there will be more lessons, but that one was really one of my favorite takeaways.
What’s one quote that you have heard in life that your want to ECHO out to your fans?
Maybe that the only guarantee for failure is stopping. If you don’t try, you can not succeed.
If you could set your fans in the perfect listening environment to listen to your music, what would it look like?
You know the interesting thing is, I would love for anyone who follows me is a fan of my music to see me at night in my bedroom or living room where it all really goes down because I don’t think that a lot of big artists really let people into the process of what it is really like. There’s videos and shoes and things like that where I’m all dressed up and whatever The reality is that all these songs that I write are usually written at 3 a.m. in really bad pajamas with my hair not brushed That’s really what goes down and then their all polished later. It’s like an arts and crafts project almost – piecing together all these little things. I would love for my fans to see what I actually looked like when I’m really working on things in moments of inspiration. It could be anywhere. The shower is a big place for me. I’ve written a lot of songs in the shower. That’s the reality behind all of the stuff.